Vocal health

Minimize the Effects of Summer Allergies on your Vocal Health

While Winter typically gets the bad rap for causing sickness and vocal problems, Summer brings just as many pesky problems with its high temperatures, humidity, dry indoor A/C, and old air conditioning filters that only put more pollutants into the air (just to name a few culprits!).

As is always the case year round – drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your vocal chords moist and not dry. However, drink extra water during high temperatures and when drinking caffeine, alcohol or beverages with high sugar or salt content. These beverages are generally okay in moderation, but do have bad dehydrating effects on your body and vocal chords that drinking extra water can help offset.

Try to minimize sudden temperature shifts as much as possible, i.e. going from hot outdoor humidity to cold, dry air conditioning. The body can adjust to many variables, however the constant, sudden shifting of temperatures is not something your voice likes very much. In particular, try to avoid cold air blowing directly close to your ears, particularly A/C vents while you sleep.

Clean your air conditioning filters every year and consider getting a good air purifier in any room you spend significant time in each day. Most people are surprised to learn that indoor pollution can be as bad, if not worse, than outdoor pollution. I personally feel that a good air purifier is a solid career investment for anyone who uses their voice to earn a living.

Above all else – don’t self-diagnose. For most people, seasonal allergies are a nuisance, however this is your livelihood. See a pro – in this case, an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor) rather than your family doctor to discuss the best strategy for allergies so he/she can take into account other health issues you may have. Many vocalists find that anti-histamines like Claritin, Benadryl and Allegra dry their throats too much (keep drinking that water!), whereas nasal decongestants like Sudafed often do not do enough alone. Your ENT can advise you of the best over-the-counter treatment options or prescriptions that take into account your unique environment, career and personal health considerations.

Good luck and stay healthy!